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    More than 6,000 Donated Books Blessed at Scranton

    The University of Scranton’s Panuska College of Professional Studies held the 15th annual Blessing of the Books ceremony in the lobby of The Kane Forum in the Edward Leahy, Jr. Hall on Dec. 2. Two University students, who were the largest book donors this year, offered the blessing at the 15th annual ceremony of a program started by Debra Pellegrino, Ed.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies, when she began her tenure at Scranton. From left are: Victoria Mauri, a first-year kinesiology major; Dean Pellegrino; and Melissa Menagh, a senior kinesiology major.
    December 17, 2021

    The 15th annual Panuska College of Professional Studies Blessing of the Books project collected more than 6,000 children’s books this year. The books were blessed at a ceremony in the lobby of The Kane Forum in the Edward Leahy, Jr. Hall on Dec. 2.

    Two of the largest book donors this year offered the blessing at the ceremony: University students Melissa Menagh, a senior kinesiology major from Long Valley, New Jersey, and Victoria Mauri, a first-year kinesiology major from Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. Both students held book drives in their respective home towns and each collected well over 1,000 books. Both students were active in community service throughout their high school years and are continuing to be “women for and with others,” living and growing in the Ignatian mission here at The University of Scranton said Debra Pellegrino, Ed.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies (PCPS), who began the Blessing of the Books project when she arrived on campus 15 years ago.

    “St. Ignatius of Loyola believed that love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words.  Our first-year students in PCPS have met this challenge and this fall have really been creative and determined to collect children’s books to help others with the gift of literacy,” said Dean Pellegrino, who is retiring as dean this year.

    This year the Blessing of the Books project also benefited from donations of books from organizations outside of the University community.  The Keystone State Literacy Association Northeast Pennsylvania donated more than 500 books. The MMI Preparatory School Interact Club also held a book collection and donated well over 900 books.  These donations are so vital to the program and helping increase the literacy of children here in Northeast Pennsylvania.

    Dean Pellegrino believes that now more than ever we need to focus on literacy as a gift and a blessing to help an adult and a child utilize the gift of reading for meaningful engagement in today’s world.

    The PCPS Blessing of the Books program allows first-year students to collect and donate new or gently used books for children who might not otherwise have access to books. The first-year students as part of the T.A.P.E.S.T.R.Y. program also register to come to the Dean’s office to write inspirational quotes inside the books. This gives the students a chance to pass along their life-long love of learning and reading to the children who receive these books noted Dean Pellegrino.

    After the blessing ceremony, the donated books are donated to area non-profits who get the books into the hands of needy children. The Blessing of the Books is just an extension of Dean Pellegrino’s lifetime commitment to education and community service.

    The Blessing of the Books is a tradition in PCPS and the students, faculty, and staff always enjoy the ceremony and the cookies and milk after the ceremony. Not to mention the endless hours of joy and inspiration their donated books will bring to children in NEPA and beyond.

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